What types of books should I read now that my partner is in sexual recovery?
Coming to terms with your partner’s sexual recovery process can take time as well as some personal work, but healing from the impact of sexual addiction and recovery can be made easier by learning and understanding more about addiction and what to anticipate from someone in recovery.
Choosing to educate yourself on addiction can create a better understanding and greater confidence in how best to address issues around sexual recovery and its impact on your romantic committed relationship. A deeper understanding of addiction may also help you better manage conflicting emotions towards your partner while allowing you to express support, empathy, and compassion for them without dismissing your own important emotions.
During and after treatment for a sexual addiction your partner will hopefully be actively engaging in several regular therapeutic interventions such as personal therapy, aftercare, and self-help support groups. Throughout their recovery process, and with the help of those supporting them, they will learn about the addiction cycle, recovery, and sexual healing.
Ideally, while your partner is in active support and recovery they will be receiving book recommendations and purchasing beneficial books and workbooks as part of their recovery plan. You may opt to read these books from time to time and, potentially, discuss them together, if it feels appropriate.
However, you must tread softly down their recovery path as taking on a parenting type dynamic can be disempowering for partners. Becoming the one to give them books and information about their addiction and recovery can be problematic because they are not on the same path as you and it is important for them to develop assertiveness and confidence in their own path toward recovery.
The best way you can support your partner in their sexual recovery is to focus intentionally on your own healing process. Partners of those with a sexual compulsive behavioural problem, also need genuine and compassionate support in healing and can benefit greatly from learning about sexual addiction, sexual recovery, their own healing process, and healthy loving relationships.
Learning about what your partner is going through is not meant to dismiss your own feelings, but rather to embrace them and work through them while also gaining a sense of understanding on your own path forward.
You can do this by reading and learning about the four key areas that may impact you and your relationship in the coming months.
When attempting to find the relevant resources, though, you may begin to feel overwhelmed with choice. While there is quite a broad range of literature to choose from, simply selecting a few here and there is a great place to start.
In this article you can find a list of over 30 related self-help books that may help you on your healing journey.
Trust your gut and intuition when it comes to seeking out books that resonate with you; listen to what it might be that you need right now. While it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the struggles of your partner, it is important that you take the time to work through your own struggles first. Eventually, you and your partner will hopefully find that you are both ready to share your progress and begin healing together.
Psycho-educational books about sexual addiction
Knowledge is power. The more you read and absorb about the process of addiction and recovery, the easier it will be to both emotionally and mentally detangle yourself from all the habits, traits, and behaviours that come with addiction while maintaining a healthy level of detachment from your spouse. Sexual addiction is progressive; issues like infidelity and betrayal can develop into a hidden sexual addiction, which is why it can be worthwhile to try to understand more about it from the start.
Practical books and workbooks about sex and relationship recovery
Books and workbooks are a necessary part of a strong sexual recovery. Knowing the types of supports, interventions, and activities your partner should be engaged in will give you the confidence to be able to talk openly and directly to your partner about their recovery. This also means agreeing to talk about slips, relapses, boundaries, ground rules, sobriety goals, non-negotiables, and rebuilding trust again when the time is right.
Self-help books about personal healing from partner addiction, partner betrayal and relationship trauma
Sadly, with sexual addiction comes various degrees of discoveries, disclosures, infidelity, different forms of betrayal, and emotional/relational trauma. Betrayed partners can experience many symptoms of PTSD within betrayal trauma, which is why a strong emphasis on their own healing is needed before couples addiction recovery can commence. Reading about the journey to healing from a partner’s sexual addiction and the impact it can have on relationship bonds, attachment systems, safety, and security is a large part of helping you heal yourself. When you understand what your own needs are, when the time feels right, you can begin to help your partner understand clearly too.
Finally, evidence-based books about healthy loving relationships
This may not feel relevant in the early days of sexual recovery, but there are many advantages to reading books about healthy loving relationships. This includes being able to establish clarity and confidence in your feelings about the type of relationship you deserve, think more deeply about sex, love, intimacy, and trust, and determine how compatible you really are together. This kind of literature can empower you to set clear boundaries, identify your needs and relationship expectations, as well as provide a blueprint for rebuilding your relationship or trusting when it feels right to end the relationship.
A list of books for partners who wish to understand more about the diverse areas of sexual addiction, sexual recovery, healing from partner betrayal, and healthy relationships:
Deeply Troubled Radically Forgiven: A memoir About Rebuilding & Forgiveness after Complex Sexual Betrayalby Kelly Ibarra (2021)
Help Her Heal – An Empathy Workbook for Sex Addicts to Help Their Partners Heal by Carol Juergensen (2019)
Sex Addiction: A Guide for Couples and Those Who Help Them by Paula Hall (2019)
The Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work by Dr John Gottman (2017)
Out of The Dog House: A Step by Step Relationship Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating by Robert Weiss (2017)
Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage and Why We Stray by Helen Fisher, PhD (2016)
Sex Addiction: The Partners Perspective by Paula Hall, UK (2015)
Facing The Shadow: Starting Sexual & Relationship Recovery by Patrick Carnes (2015)
Why Men Really Cheat by Martyn Steward (2014)
Letters To A Sex Addict: The Journey through Grief and Betrayal by Wendy Conquest (2013)
Sex, Addictions, and Marriage: The Importance of Sexual Integrity by David J. Shock (2013)
Stop Sex Addiction: Real Hope, True Freedom for Sex Addicts and Partners by Milton S. Magness (2013)
Living and Loving after Betrayal: How to Heal from Emotional Abuse, Deceit, Infidelity and Chronic Resentment by Steven Stosny PhD (2013)
Facing Heartache: Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts by S. Carnes, M.A. Lee & A.D Rodriguez (2012)
Soaring Above Co-Addiction: Helping your Loved One Get Clean, While Creating the Life of your Dreams by Lisa Ann Espich (2012)
Intimate Treason: Healing the Trauma for Partners Confronting Sex Addiction by C. Black and C. Tripodi (2012)
The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples by Dr John Gottman (2011)
A Couple’s Guide to Sexual Addiction: A Step-by-Step Plan to Rebuild Trust and Restore Intimacy by P. Collins & G. N.Collins (2011)
Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts by S. Carnes (2011)
A House Interrupted: A Wife’s Story of Recovering from Her Husband’s Sex Addiction by Maurita Corcoran (2011)
Attached by Dr. Amir Levin & Rachel Heller (2011)
Pornified: How Pornography is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families by Pamela Paul (2010)
Sex At Dawn: How we Mate, Why We Stay and What It Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan & Cacidla Jetha (2010)
How Can I Ever Trust You Again: Infidelity, From Discovery to Recovery In Seven Steps by Andrew G. Marshall (2010)
Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey Through Sexual Addiction by S. W Silverman (2010)
Love, Infidelity, and Sexual Addiction: A Co-dependent’s Perspective, Including Cybersex Addiction by Christine A. Adams (2009)
The Porn Trap: A Guide to Healing from Porn Addiction, for Sufferers and Their Loved Ones by W. Maltz (2009)
Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope & Heal by B.Steffens & M.Means (2009)
Relationships from Addiction to Authenticity: Understanding Co-Sex Addiction – A Spiritual Journey to Wholeness and Serenity by C. Pletcher & S. Bartolameolli (2008)
Hold Me Tight: A Guide to The Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships by Dr. Sue Johnson (2008)
The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships by Patrick Carnes Ph.D. (1997)
Co-dependent No More by Melody Beattie (1992)
Claiming Your Self-esteem: Guide Out of Co-dependency, Addiction and Other Useless Habits by Carolyn M. Ball (1991)
Women, Sex, and Addiction: A Search for Love and Power by C. Davis Kasl, Ph.D (1990)
Escape from Intimacy: Untangling the “Love” Addictions: Sex, Romance, Relationships by Anne Wilson Schaef(1990)
Lonely All the Time: Recognizing, Understanding and Overcoming Sex Addiction, for Addicts and Co-Dependents by R. Earle, G. Crow & K. Osborn (1989)
When an issue, like addiction, arises that greatly impacts your life, it can be completely empowering and grounding to learn and work to understand the problem. Studying the issue and discovering different perspectives can also help you understand it in a way that allows you to detach from it emotionally… if only slightly.